Kitchen Clean Up
When we started our main floor reno we set out to address the big issues that affected us everyday.  The small, very tired bathroom was at the centre of it.  We also knew we wanted to update the insulation, windows and add an outdoor space.  Unlike so many major home overhauls,  our kitchen wasn’t the centre of this renovation.  Just before we bought the house the kitchen had gone through an update.  The original 1950’s kitchen cabinets had been restored and the layout updated to incorporate a dishwasher.  We didn’t dislike everything about the old kitchen as it had it’s charms. 
However as we started the new plans there were definitely plenty of reasons to demo it and start fresh. While the cabinets were solid, the doors didn’t always close properly and there were only two drawers in the original cabinetry. There was also very little pantry space and we ended up storing a lot of larger items in the back hall on shelves or on the steps. Nothing like tripping over a giant bag of rice on your way to the basement!
Because the appliances weren't the ones in the original design everything had an awkward fit. Opening the fridge meant blocking the entrance from the hallway, one of three doorways in a relatively small space. The angles were so tight that we could really only ever have either the fridge, the oven or the dishwasher open, not any combination of the three. The sink was in a strange location and only had counter space on one side. In general, there was very little counter space which made food prep difficult. 
The kitchen was closed off from the dining room and had no line of sight to the living room so when we hosted people everyone would cram into the kitchen to talk. While this led to some cozy chats, it also made it difficult to move around the space and prepare food. Thankfully our friends and family didn’t mind us constantly asking them to move when we needed to get by.
When we started the renovation process with our contractor we weren’t originally planning on taking down the hallway wall completely.  We thought it would be too much extra cost but once we started demolition we realized it needed to go. While it was an added expense to do the engineering and add the beam necessary to keep the structural integrity, it was completely worth it. We also removed the wall between the old dining room and the kitchen to really open up the space.  The original kitchen was approximately 11’x11’ and now it’s 15’x22’ with the long hallway gone. 
The new layout has moved the kitchen forward which means the sink now looks out over the front yard.  We also shifted the window on the south wall closer to the front of the house so we could get better light and sight lines to the yard and street.  In the summer the view out the window is lush green leaves - something I didn’t really notice before because we rarely sat in the old dining room during the day.  
The dining area has been incorporated into the kitchen along with our refurbished island. This gives us even more room for prepping and cooking. The back wall that originally had the stove and fridge is now our floor to ceiling pantry and coffee station. All in all, including the pull outs in the pantry, I think we have 27 drawers now so there is plenty of space for everything. 
We love our Le Creuset pot collection so we incorporated open shelves to display them. This was a custom design provided by our contractor as the shelves needed to be strong enough to several cast iron pots. The kitchen colour palette is fairly neutral so the bright orange really brings the room to life.
One thing I've learned going through my own renovation is that it's easy to get distracted by the latest design trends.  However as I look back on the choices we made and seeing the transformation it makes me profoundly grateful for what we have.   
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